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Urban flair meets tradition in fashion

African tradition with an urban twist against the glamorous background of the Hilton.(Photographs by Melba Chipepo)

African tradition with an urban twist against the glamorous background of the Hilton.(Photographs by Melba Chipepo)

Namibia’s most celebrated fashion designers, Nicola Conradie, Hem Matsi and McBright Kavari banded together to bring fashion fundis an exclusive fashion show at the Hilton Hotel last weekend.
Namibia’s heritage was reflected in the “I love a Namibian” fashion show organised by Radio 99 in collaboration with Jameson Irish Whiskey.
Eccentric, vintage, urban, afro-influenced, classy and trendy are the words that came to mind as the models strutted on the catwalk in the designers creations preparing for winter. The fashion show focused on stylish garments with a distinct African influence for African women yearning to remain stylish despite the cold season.
Metropolitan man, red carpet god, and demure beauty are some of the words used to dress men and women in McBright’s clothes. Dapper suits and gorgeous silhouettes alternated with braid tassels on traditional Herero dresses to create an explosion of style and elegance.
Encompassing a collection of garments for two seasons, autumn and winter, the designers showed that Namibian fashion is emerging and evolving rapidly. Just like the designers’ collections, it is emerging from the traditional drab pieces we used to wear, to chic modern garments that show who  we are and our proud heritage of being Namibians . The collections ranged from Hem’s use of blue hues, sea greens and reworked Odelelas with blue and purple tartan shorts, to McBright’s oversized shimmering coats covered by old shawls. The added detail of seashells on a formal garment created exquisite Namibian clothes that are designed to accentuate natural feminine beauty. Hem also staged some eye-popping leather pants that make the wearer look nerdy yet sophisticated.
The show belonged to Nicola Conradie as her sleepless nights and hard work paid off when she received a standing ovation for her collection. Soft cotton and linen outfits both fit for the catwalk as well as everyday living with that Je ne se quoi Parisian element that makes one want to whip out the credit card and rush to get a set of her three-quarter pants, skirts, dresses and jackets.
Lead designer Conradie used local fabric to dismiss the notion that Namibian fashion designers can not be successful because they cannot access good fabrics. With ever growing portfolios Conradie, Kavari and Matsi will become lifestyle and fashion icons and are without doubt putting Namibian fashion on the grid. Watch out Europe, here comes Namibia.

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